Mardin

Mardin is a city in South-eastern Turkey and the capital of Mardin Province, it is renowned for its architecture and strategic position atop a summit, close to the Tigris River.

Mardin City
Photo Credit: icid.org

Mardin has long been thought of an open-air exhibition of sorts, due to its historic buildings, most constructed of beige coloured limestone, which has been quarried in the area for centuries.

These buildings were mostly constructed throughout the Artukid period and including several mosques and palaces.

You will also find here “Dayro d-Mor Gabriel‎” (The Monastery of St. Gabriel), also known as Deyrulumur.  It is the oldest remaining Syriac Orthodox monastery in the world and was founded in 397 by the puritan Mor Shmu’el (Samuel) and his student Mor Shem’un (Simon).

Legend has it that Shem’un had a vision in which an Angel commanded him to build a House of Prayer in a site marked by three stone blocks. When Shem’un awoke, he guided his mentor to the site and located the stones the angel had placed. It was here that the Mor Gabriel Monastery was constructed.

Dayro d-Mor Gabriel remains a working community set between gardens and orchards and it’s principal intent is to keep Syriac Orthodox Christianity alive in the home of its birth, affording education and ordination for native-born monks.

The lands of the Artukid family fell during the Mongol invasion of 13th century, but the Artukids continued to govern under the influence of the Mongol Empire. Mardin later fell under the rule of the federation of Turkic tribes, who controlled territory all the way to the Caspian Sea.

In 1517, Mardin was seized by the Ottomans under the rule of Selim I and ruled by a governor directly appointed under the Ottoman Sultan’s authority. With the founding of the Turkish republic in 1923, Mardin became the administrative capital of a province named after it.

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